This post was originally published on May 27, 2014.
Be honest: Ever ventured into a 12-step meeting and felt instantly unwell due to the overabundance of ridiculous inspirational slogans and sayings? Join the club (no pun intended)! Even people who have been sober for years complain about the cheesy-saying situation in AA meetings. Here are a few of my personal least-favorites.
1) I Know I’m Being Taken Care Of
People say this when they’re freaking out about something, like, say, getting evicted or losing a parent or breaking up with a boyfriend. They say this in reference to God, because apparently they believe their HP is some omnipotent being with nothing better to do than “take care of” some addicts but let others die in the streets. Why were those addicts not being “taken care of,” yet you were? Because you managed to get sober and they didn’t? The self-centered lameness of this one astounds me.
2) “Let Go and Let God”
I understand the meaning and implication of this one: stop pretending you’re God, take your hands off the steering wheel, and let the real God take over. You’re not running your life very successfully, so why not “turn it over” to a mysterious power greater than yourself? This one makes a certain kind of comforting sense; there’s something reassuring about essentially throwing your hands in the air and saying, “I CAN’T I CAN’T I CAN’T PLEASE SEND HELP!” But it leaves very little room for the joy of human responsibility and decision-making.
3) “Stick With The Winners”
Who exactly “wins” at AA? Sorry, wasn’t aware that the program was actually a competitive sobriety school where some members are considered cool and smart and popular and awesome while all the other addicts there are…losers. This saying probably stings more for people who’ve felt like losers all their lives—it does for me. I’ve never considered myself a “winner” and I don’t actually even know what the term means when used in this context. I know that I hate its inference of participation in cliquey lunchroom politics, so…no. None for me, thanks.
4) “AA is a Program For Those That Want It, Not For Those That Need It”
Why can’t it be a program for both? Why are the people that “need” AA somehow less deserving than those who “want” it? Again, I kind-of understand the logic of this one—that AA members must be motivated, willing and eager to work for their sobriety while letting others help them. But…what about the peeps that need it more than they want it—maybe people who stumble into the program at a therapist’s suggestion, or after rehab because they have to go? Some of those folks do end up staying sober despite their initial hesitation.
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